The SEASOFT XV-4™ Drysuit is SEASOFT's very best! Using the latest science used by swimmers competing in the OLYMPIC GAMES, the XV-4 uses YAMAMOTO's latest high tech neoprene and fabrics to create a drysuit that is astonishly comfortable and efficient.
The freedom of movement is only limited by the diver - not the suit; the outer layer not only sheds water instantly on the surface but has virtually no hydro-drag in the water.
The abrasion resistance is startling because the fabric appears to be almost fragile and yet it has an abrasion resistance approaching KEVLAR.
When you combine these features with SEASOFT's famous boots, seals, pattern, warranty, valve placement, customer service etc. you have a drysuit that not everyone can own but everyone wishes they could!
Why should you buy a SEASOFT XV-4 Drysuit?
A short answer would be because you want the very best drysuit that has ever been made. But obviously there is more to the SEASOFT XV-4 than this.
First, lets look at the suit itself:
• Yamamoto's most advanced, (most expensive) neoprene, with the same exterior coating used by the Olympic swimmers to virtually eliminate hydro-drag. Two layers of Titanium Flake Foil™ for extra warmth. A new type of semi-compressed neoprene that resist compression yet stretches like some of the super stretchy foams. An incredible super tight exterior weave that is mind blowing in its abrasion resistance!
• More comfortable than any other drysuit –period!
• The XV-4 dries in minutes due to the tight weave exterior, it almost appears to be seal skin.
• NO drysuit has greater flexibility or freedom of movement, the XV-4 offers NO restriction to movement - NONE!
• The XV-4 can be easily self-zipped (Ti Zip) or unzipped, while retaining all of the stretch and freedom of movement in the torso.
The SEASOFT XV-4 also has:
• SEASOFT’s world famous built in STEALTH Boots™ with an elevated heel and arch supports. if you are going to carry a hundred pounds of gear or more, you should have the footwear to do so.
• STRETCHTEX™ 3 mm neck and wrist seals that are warm, comfortable, durable and dry! They fold under so that the air in the fold, in an effort to 'escape', presses the inner layer against your skin creating a watertight seal.
• Forearm mounted exhaust valves for better buoyancy control. Forearm mounted exhaust valves dump air 5 X faster than shoulder mounted exhaust valves. When the air is expanding in the drysuit during an UNINTENDED ASCENT and you are dumping air, there are times with a shoulder dump that you are dumping air only as fast or not even as fast as the air is expanding as you rise (Boyle's Law). BUT with a forearm mounted exhaust valve you are able to dump ALL of the air in the suit in a second or two - thus protecting you from an unintended, possibly dangerous ascent.
How does it dump air so quickly? There are a couple of factors in play. First of all, a shoulder dump does not 'collect' air, the air has to 'find' the valve. In the XV-4, the arms are of a Raglan sleeve design, this means they are wide where they are attached to the body of the suit. This allows air to freely move to the arm when the arm is raised (becomes the highest point). Then of course the arm narrows creating a narrowing funnel endind at the exhaust valve. So when the diver wants to exhaust air they simply lift their arm as if their arm was their BC deflator hose and the air is funneled to the exhaust valve and it 'burst' out until you lower your arm. Most of the time it will be a half second flick of the arm. Of course because the valves are Si-Techs best pressure sensitive, adjustable valves, there is never a need to push a button or even touch the valve. It all takes place with a simple momentary lift of the forearm. What could be easier, safer or more efficient?
• Kneepads like a million gummy bears creating a fortress - rocks, barnacles or whatever the sea can throw at you are no match for these kneepads.
Expensive and obviously not for everyone, but if you can have this suit…WOW!
Here is what some of the experts are saying:
• Bruce Justinen, the President of SEASOFT SCUBA, 'I've been diving drysuits for 27 years and there is no other drysuit like the the SEASOFT XV-4™. It is smooth skinned, yet tough as nails; stretchy, yet resistant to compression; lightweight, yet warm and toasty. It's an astonishingly competent drysuit!'
• SCUBALABS TESTERS CHOICE 2011 - “BOTTOM LINE - The Testers’ Choice in neoprene suits, the XV-4 was unsurpassed in comfort and warmth in and out of the water.' http:www.scubadiving.com/gear/drysuits/drysuits-2011-seasoft-xv-4
• http://www.scubagearreports.com May, 2011 'Overall, the XV-4 is one of the most comfortable drysuits we have ever tested.'
Bruce Justinen, the President of SEASOFT SCUBA, explains the difference between Shell Drysuits and Neoprene Drysuits:
'There are a lot of 'experts' out there telling people which drysuit they should buy. The problem is they are telling people based on their 'experience'. Usually that 'experience' is based on the one or possibly two drysuits they have ever owned.
It reminds me of the 'pickup truck wars'. People are often very loyal to a brand of pickup: Ford, Chevy, Dodge (now Ram), etc. Rarely, if ever, have they ever actually driven the 'other guy's' pickup but they will be sure to tell you that they would NEVER own or even drive the other guy's truck.
That's often how it is with drysuits. But imagine what it is like for the person wanting to BUY a drysuit. All the mixed messages, the advice from divers, instructors, EXPERTS, etc. who have only used one drysuit or type of drysuit.
I have over 5,000 drysuit dives over the last 27 years. I have dive experience with virtually every type of suit: vulcanized rubber, compressed neoprene, crushed neoprene, traditional neoprene, trilaminate shell, thin shell, heavy duty shell, stretched fabric over shell and hybrid neoprene suits. Here is my experience with the two most widely used type of drysuits.
The main differences between shell suits and neoprene suits:
SHELL SUIT: In a shell suit the diver basically dives with a squeeze in order to have a useable suit (remember, the fabric doesn't stretch). Because the suit has to be cut large enough to accomodate for their movements in a non-stretchable fabric, there is space for air to move in a large mass. This big 'bubble' in the suit would create potential mayhem for their buoyancy and control. So in order to eliminate this chaos, they dive with a squeeze (they do NOT add air or they add very little, as they descend).
Since, the diver is diving with a squeeze and since air is what gives them warmth and since the suit itself has NO thermal protection they are forced to wear big thick undergarments. They have NO choice.
For buoyancy control, they would use their BC underwater. if they used their drysuit, instability ensues for most divers.
NEOPRENE SUIT: In a neoprene suit the diver uses air to keep warm. Since the suit fits like a lose wetsuit and because it stretches, the air does not form a large bubble. The air is dispersed all around the suit as a layer of air. When the diver adds air as they descend, more air is added to this layer. They will get a minor movement of air but it does not move as a 'body' of air. The diver does not need thick undergarments because the suit itself is providing a layer of insulation but so is the layer of air AND as they add air during the dive that air continues to provide additional insulation.
Additionally, in the winter, many divers will actually add a couple of pounds of weight so that they can add a small amount of additional air to their drysuit for additional warmth. in a neoprene drysuit ...... Air = Warmth
They will not use their BC for buoyancy during the dive. They will typically ONLY use their BC on the surface.
SHELL SUIT: Once again, because shell suits do not stretch, it must be made larger, creating a large amount of excess material. This excess material creates hydro-drag. The more surface area (lose fabric, wrinkles, etc.) that water has to flow over, the more drag it produces. This uses up air, slows the diver down, and tires them out prematurely. Nothing good comes from hydro-drag.
Flow sphere.svg From Wikipedia, the larger the surface area presented to the water, the more hydro-drag produced.
NEOPRENE SUIT: Since neoprene stretches, it makes for a closer fitting drysuit and presents far less surface area to the water, typically 20-30% less fabric.. Thus, there is less hydro-drag in a neoprene drysuit and it is not uncommon for divers to have longer bottom times with part of that reason being that they are also warmer.
SHELL SUITS: So often, even with the thicker undergarment many divers are cold when they dive their shell drysuits. Of curse, part of the reason is because they are diving in a squeeze (no air in the suit). This causes the suit to collapse in on the undergarment and forces it against the body. This can potentially eliminate some of its thermal protection. Also, the suit itself has NO thermal protection and with no layer of air, the only thermal protection is the undergarment.
NEOPRENE SUITS: Neoprene suits deliver a layer of thermal protection, the dispersed air around your body that you can and do add to is a layer of thermal protection, and the undergarment is a layer of thermal protection. Three will always beat one.
There are arguments made by some that you need more weight for a neoprene drysuit. The answer is yes you do! If you were diving a shell suit with a squeeze then yes, diving warm in a neoprene drysuit will require more weight but that is like saying that steel tanks costs more than aluminum. Well, yes, they do but the advantages are worth it. In the case of neoprene vs shell, as amazing as it is, the neoprene is usually the less expensive of the two.
IN CONCLUSION: SEASOFT SCUBA does not make shell suits though it would be easy and extremely profitable to make them. But we won't and this is why - I cannot manufacture a product i don't believe in. Neoprene drysuits are simply better than shell suits in every way! Once you dive one, you will agree.